I know the 2020 presidential election is somewhat all consuming in many of our news and daily lives. However, the 2021 New York City mayoral race will be upon us before we know it and it is imperative we keep an eye on local democracy and issues that have direct effects and consequences for our lives. I am essentially asking everyone to walk and chew gum at the same time. That is, pay attention to both national and local politics simultaneously.
In 2021, we New Yorkers will be tasked with choosing our city council members, borough presidents, district attorneys, a comptroller, a public advocate, and a new mayor. Current Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer are both term limited out and their very important offices will have a host of diverse and qualified candidates vying for two of the three most important jobs in our city. Each week more candidates are announcing their intention to run for these important offices across and throughout our city. I would like you, dear reader, to not only begin to follow these various candidacies, but think about getting involved in some capacity.
As we think about “political tithing,” that is, donating time, money, and resources to support the political institutions and candidates we believe in, it is not too early to work towards the democracy we want on the national and local levels.
New York City has a budget of over $90 billion. Yes, that is billons with a B! We have a budget that is larger than many countries and we are tasked with electing skilled individuals who will allocate those resources to our various communities, schools, neighborhoods, and areas of interest and concern. I always remind my students that elected officials are just like all other service providers, meaning that there is great diversity in the level of care and service they provide. It is not fair to say electeds don’t work hard enough for us, it is also not a fair assumption to say all elected officials deserve the honor and privilege of representing the citizens of this great city. It is up to us to do our research, educate others, register to vote, and help usher in who we perceive as the individuals for our needs and the needs of our community members.
This paper follows local politics closely and reports on important issues affecting Blacks in New York City. I also rely on the great journalistic efforts of publications like Gotham Gazette, City & State, and The City, the Brooklyn Eagle, and the Queens Daily Eagle, to name just a few. It is not too early to start researching the policy platforms of this growing and diverse group of candidates for the various offices across the city. And be sure to look for endorsements from this paper as we get closer to primary days in 2021.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.